Nvidia quash MSI's Lucid powered ‘Big Bang’ board
Taken from Lucid’s official site, ‘Lucid is a fabless semiconductor company that has developed a unique universal multi-GPU solution. The company took a fresh approach to scaling graphics rendering by engineering a real-time distributed processing engine (system-on-a-chip) that allows efficient load-balancing of multi-GPU environments using any GPU vendor.’
The jolly green giant, NVIDIA really don’t like that. With little to show their investors and even more delays to their GT300 ‘Fermi’ cards, any losses in their ‘SLI tax’ racket would really sting. Because of that they have claimed they will break support for Lucid’s chip at the driver level, and by unknown means coerced board makers Micro-Star International (MSI) into postponing their ‘Big Bang’ motherboard, which features a Lucid Hydra 200 processor taking care of the PCI-Express graphics subsystem. You can see the chip between the CPU socket and the first PCI-E slot in the picture.
Instead of releasing the Lucid powered board, MSI have turned Big Bang into a series, and seemingly rushed out a new ‘Big Bang Trinergy’ board, featuring, surprise surprise…NVIDIA’s NF200 chip, giving the board support for 3 way SLI, but there’s no sign of the Lucid chip or any of the unmatched multi-card goodness it promises. MSI have renamed the board with the Lucid Hydra the ‘Big Bang Fuzion’ and supposedly delayed it until early Q1 2010, which is only a couple of months away now.
It is a shame that NVIDIA are being so anti-competitive. Removing the proprietary aspect from multi-GPU systems opens up a whole different battlefield, in a war that NVIDIA are presumably unprepared or unwilling to fight. There has been no mention of AMD/ATI in this post, mainly because they’ve not really been kicking up a stink about Lucid. ATI currently make the best single cards available in most of the consumer sectors, and they know it. They also have a much more relaxed licensing policy than NVIDIA, having licensed their CrossfireX technology to Intel right from the start, even after ATI’s acquisition by Intel’s main rivals, AMD.
I'm retracting this statement as I have been informed by my superiors that the Trinergy board was demoed at Cebit, here is an official statement by MSI's Garret Wu:
“The MSI P55 Big Bang with NVIDIA NF200 was already planned in December 2008, almost one year ago. MSI showcased this board on Cebit 2009 which was reported by many media like http://www.tcmagazine.com/comments.php?id=24935&catid=2 and there are also photos which show very clearly the NF200 chip:http://images.hardware.info/news/cebit-day2-23.jpg. MSI Big Bang Trinergy (NF200) is already announced and will go into mass production by the end of November.
The MSI Big Bang Fuzion (Hydra 200) hardware is ready. Currently Lucid is optimizing the driver for Windows 7 so that it works stable and in all configurations (Including Mix & Match mode). Because MSI is dedicated to bring high quality and stable product on the market we decided to postpone the Big Bang Fuzion (Hydra 200) pending the MSI internal qualification assurance test. The Big Bang Fuzion (Hydra 200) will be released when it’s driver is finished which is most likely Q1 2010.”
This update casts a different light on the article and hopefully MSI/NVIDIA haven't been too upset by my post. See my official apology at the bottom of the article.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out; hopefully MSI can bring out their Lucid-Based board. If it all goes to plan then we should be seeing Lucid boards appearing early next year, fingers crossed, as it sounds like the Lucid board is in testing at MSI right now.